Report: Trainer Rice Being Investigated

Daily Racing Form reports that the New York State Gaming Commission is investigating trainer Linda Rice for receiving information on race entries in exchange for payments to the New York Racing Association office.

Rice told DRF on Feb. 2 that she had not bribed officials, saying that money she gave to NYRA officials and the gate crew were Christmas gifts. She said this occurred from 2012-14. was unable to reach Rice for comment. 

Patrick McKenna, a NYRA spokesman, declined to comment on what he called "behavior that is alleged to have taken place prior to the arrival of the new (NYRA) management team."

He said in 2014 NYRA did hand over information to the state regulator.

"However, NYRA discovered certain activity in 2014 and immediately referred our findings to relevant law enforcement agencies and the New York State Gaming Commission," McKenna said. "We will continue to work closely with the NYSGC and would not want to jeopardize any aspect of what we believe is an ongoing investigation by providing further comment."

Brad Maione, a spokesman for the state Gaming Commission, would not confirm or deny an investigation is ongoing.

The New York regulator has had a number of investigations into improper sharing of information in recent years.

Last year the NYGSC revoked the license of a former head clocker at NYRA for his role in an alleged conspiracy involving electronic trespassing of internal NYRA records. Stephen Foster had his license revoked for at least 10 years for allegedly giving access to NYRA's InCompass computer system to two jockey agents. The database included information such as Thoroughbred workout details and advance word on horses entered in races.

In January 2017 the board acted similarly in the adjudication of the case against jockey agent Mike Gonzalez. Arrested in 2016 for his role in the computer trespass matter, the NYGSC imposed a 10-year minimum license revocation along with the $25,000 fine.

The case involved allegations against Foster and Gonzalez, as well as jockey agent Jose A. Morales Jr., over access to non-public information from NYRA's computer system. Last year, prosecutors said Gonzalez, in return for $100 monthly payments to Foster, accessed the computerized records at least 170 times over a 15-month period. Foster was fired by NYRA in mid-June 2015, shortly after he and the two jockey agents were escorted off NYRA grounds and banned from the association's three tracks.